Short, hard runs build guts and grit. And they can be fun, too (re­ally, we prom­ise…)

Runner's World (UK) - - Fresh Thinking -

WHY Work­ing to­wards a speedy mile and/or 5K can lead to break­throughs when you re­turn to longer races, says El­more. Short, hard train­ing builds fast-twitch mus­cle, which your body can re­cruit for a more ef­fi­cient, ex­plo­sive stride when slow-twitch fi­bres fa­tigue. Plus, says Fraioli, in short races you can stop fret­ting about pac­ing your­self and fo­cus more on reel­ing in the run­ners in front of you – a mind­set shift that can help you fin­ish any race stronger.

HOW Spend at least eight weeks do­ing some higher in­ten­sity speed­work while drop­ping to­tal mileage by about 15 per cent. El­more says each week should in­clude hard 200-400m re­peats at 5K pace or faster with equal rest; a three- to-five-mile tempo run and a long run of 60-plus min­utes, with re­cov­ery runs or rest days in-be­tween. Be­fore hard work­outs and races, do a 20-minute warm-up of jog­ging, dy­namic ex­er­cises and strides.

STAY HEALTHY As your pace quick­ens, your knees will ab­sorb more stress, es­pe­cially if your quads, glutes and ham­strings are weak. To pre­pare to go fast, Moyer rec­om­mends a pre-run move that mim­ics run­ning (left), plus a se­ries of sin­gle-leg ex­er­cises to do at the gym (right).

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